White Sox: Catching up with each year’s top prospect this century

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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White Sox
Chicago White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

Baseball America updated its lists earlier this week of the top 30 prospects in each MLB organization, with a new No. 1 emerging at the top of the Chicago White Sox system. Andrew Vaughn, a slugging first baseman taken first by the White Sox in the 2019 draft after clubbing 50 home runs in three seasons at the University of California, is now in the No. 1 spot.

Vaughn was the third overall pick in 2019 and rose to High-A ball in just half a season in the minors that year, hitting .278 across three levels (Rookie, Class-A and High-A) with an .832 OPS in 55 games and 245 plate appearances. He belted 17 doubles to go with six home runs, driving in 36 runs and scoring 33.

Beyond that, his strikeout percentage was a reasonable 15.5% with a walk rate of 12.2%.

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Vaughn will turn 23 on April 3 and, as a first baseman, appears to be stuck behind reigning American League MVP Jose Abreu for the foreseeable future. He played all of last season at the White Sox alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill., after spending some time with the big club in spring training before it was shut down last March due to COVID-19.

He played in 16 games and had 33 plate appearances in Cactus League play last spring, hitting .259 with an .838 OPS. Vaughn cracked two doubles and a homer with five RBI and six runs scored and posted a strikeout rate of 21.2% to go with a 15.2% walk rate.

Vaughn is a prospect with plus hitting and power potential, above-average fielding and arm skills and has below-average speed. He is an all-fields hitter and projects to combine a high average with that plus power. He got some time in the outfield in 2019 and played third base a bit at the alternate training site, but projects as a first baseman due to his lack of range.

He moved up one spot in the rankings from midseason 2020 after entering 2020 at No. 2 in the preseason ratings as well. As far as the Top 100 list goes, Vaughn moved up from No. 30 last preseason to No. 21 this year.

Other top-100 prospects for the White Sox include right-hander Michael Kopech (No. 24), second baseman Nick Madrigal (No. 40) and left-hander Garrett Crochet (No. 74)

But that got us thinking about other No. 1 prospects the White Sox have had over the years and how they have turned out for the club. With that, we’ll dive into the last five years’ worth.